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By Tim McNeese

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Extra info for Civil War Leaders (The Civil War: a Nation Divided)

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Personally, Lincoln and his family suffered much tragedy during the war. The ­four-­year conflict preoccupied him day and night, putting enormous psychological, emotional, and physical strains on him as well as on his family. Mary Todd Lincoln was under constant suspicion from Lincoln’s critics, since she was a Southerner from Kentucky whose family owned slaves. She had several brothers who served in the Confederacy. In February 1862, Lincoln’s son William died. The Lincolns were deeply grieved by the loss, and the president was so sorrowful that he visited his son’s mausoleum and opened his casket on two occasions so he could once more look at Willie’s face.

Over the next four years, Senator Davis would hold a ringside seat to the major political events of his time, events that would ultimately lead the United States closer to civil war. His former ­father-­in-­law and commander, Zachary Taylor, was elected president in 1848. Controversy began between Southerners and Northerners in Congress over the admission of California as a free state. ) Senator Davis opposed the compromise drawn up by Kentucky senator Henry Clay and spoke out several times against it.

He took on the duties and difficulties of guiding his nation through its military conflict without enough resources or finances, even as the Confederacy’s opponent had almost unlimited monies, manpower, and military material at its own disposal. As the Confederate president, Davis was criticized 32 Jefferson Davis at almost every turn by those he had allied himself alongside against the political will of the North. Still, the sum of his legacy is not that his country ultimately witnessed defeat in that war and an end to the political experiment of the Confederacy.

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